Many of my clients ask me how they can tell if a building will mesh with their lifestyles. One way is to take a look at the lobby and its rules. The lobby is a window into the lifestyles of a building’s residents. The rules indicate what kind of manners are required of the residents and most importantly the culture of the board. In the what New York society use to refer to as “ good “ buildings the importance of the lobby is greater. They are often conservatively wood paneled or gilded with marble. Some are more austere and minimalistic demonstrating their inclusivity.
One good indicator of the culture of the building and the lifestyles of its residents are the lobby rules. There are buildings where brokers and their buyers may not sit on the lobby furniture while they wait for their showing appointment. There are buildings where wearing jeans, drinking beverages and talking on cell phones are prohibited. One would think that not allowing dogs would be a rule just found in some co-ops yet I have sold apartments in famous condos that didn’t allow pets at all. There are buildings where your dog must ride in the service elevator as well as your housekeeper. Some buildings require that all strollers must use the service elevator.
If you think that you can avoid this kind restrictive buttoned up lobby rules altogether by looking to buy in B and C list buildings you are mistaken. Some of these buildings have quirky rules also because they aspire to be just like an A list building.
The benefits of living in A- list buildings with restrictive building and lobby rules are that the rules keep inappropriate behavior out and may help keep up prices not to mention that you will get to live and a building of powerful movers and shakers.
If you are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle then lean more to condo buildings. Have your broker give you a copy of the house rules and renovation policies. Every board has house rules and by-laws. Reading them can give you an idea if the building is conservative or liberal.
While you may want to live in a building that has less restrictions watch out for buildings that are excessively relaxed or disorganized. The lobby will look tired and neglected. House rules and by-laws in these kinds of buildings are perhaps too few and too liberal!
At the end of the day house rules and by-laws are essential for people to coexist peacefully in the same communal space. How strict or lenient determine the lifestyle tone of the building. Your broker will help you save an enormous amount of time by showing you buildings that only match your lifestyle.